Washington: Hillary Rodham Clinton says her use of a private email system at the State Department wasn't the "best choice" and acknowledged she didn't "stop and think" about her email set-up when she became President Barack Obama's secretary of state in 2009.
The Democratic presidential front-runner said in an interview Friday with NBC News that she was immediately confronted by a number of global hotspots after joining the new Obama administration as its top diplomat and didn't think much about her email after arriving at her new job. Her use of private email has now become a distraction for her presidential campaign.
"You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world," Clinton said. "I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be?"
But Clinton did not apologize for her decision when asked directly, "Are you sorry?" Instead, she again said she wishes she had "made a different choice" and that she takes responsibility for the decision to use a private email account and server based at her home in suburban New York.
She added it was a choice that should not raise questions about her judgment.
"I am very confident that by the time this campaign has run its course, people will know that what I've been saying is accurate," Clinton said, adding: "They may disagree, as I now disagree, with the choice that I made. But the facts that I have put forth have remained the same."
Republicans criticized Clinton's unwillingness to apologize for the decision and said it underscored polls which have shown large numbers of people questioning her trustworthiness.
"What's clear is Hillary Clinton regrets that she got caught and is paying a political price, not the fact her secret email server put our national security at risk," said Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
The Washington Post reported Friday night that the Clintons personally paid a State Department employee, Bryan Pagliano, to maintain the private email server she used while secretary of state. Earlier this week Pagliano told a House committee investigating Clinton's use of the email server that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination if called to testify.
The subject of emails led off a wide-ranging interview that included Vice President Joe Biden's interest in a potential Democratic primary bid, Clinton's plans to address the Iran nuclear deal and her views of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.